The San Antonio Spurs held a players-only meeting to implore All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard to return to the lineup and help the team in its push for the playoffs, league sources told ESPN.
Spurs guard Tony Parker, a four-time NBA champion, quarterbacked the meeting after the team’s victory over Minnesota on Saturday night. Non-players were asked to leave the locker room, a source told Michael C. Wright.
The conversation was described as tense and emotional at times. Several teammates spoke up, expressing frustration and confusion over a growing divide that has created significant tension between Leonard and the Spurs. Outside the Spurs locker room, players’ voices could be heard through the door, sources said.
Leonard remained resolute in his response, insisting that he has good reason to continue sitting out because he still isn’t fully healthy, sources said. Leonard told his teammates that he planned to return once he felt able to do so, sources said.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN
Sources: Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard Expected to Agree to Four-Year Supermax Extension
Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers are expected to come to terms over the summer on a four-year, $191 million supermax contract extension, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Lillard would officially qualify for the supermax if he’s voted to one of the three All-NBA Teams, which is virtually a lock for the four-time All-Star.
Lillard has two years and approximately $62 million remaining on his current deal. The extension would put him under contract for the next six years, and he’d be 34 years old by the time the deal expires, perhaps solidifying his status as arguably the greatest Trail Blazer of all time.
According to rival executives, a new pact for Lillard would almost certainly include a player option, something the guard bypassed on his previous deal.
Source: Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports
Sources: Clippers ‘equally dangerous threat to Knicks’ to Sign Kevin Durant in Free Agency
As for the bigger-picture matter of Durant’s future: I am unafraid to announce, with no trace of hot-takery, that firm predictions about what Durant will do when free agency starts in 40 days are ill-advised.
Within the last month, very smart and plugged-in people I have consulted say that the Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as an equally dangerous threat to the Knicks to sign Durant away from Golden State. And I believe it.
Problem is, at various points during the season, I have heard trusted insiders state with conviction that Durant is already planning to join the Knicks … and then that he is likely to consider the Nets as well … and now that he is eyeing the Clippers just as intently as New York.
It leads one to conclude that maybe the best forecast, at least for the moment, is that nobody but Durant and his business manager Rich Kleiman know.
Source: Marc Stein of The New York Times
Sources: Multiple Teams Expected to Pursue Tobias Harris in Free Agency
According to several sources, the Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers, and Brooklyn Nets are among the teams that will go after the forward in free agency. All five teams can offer maximum-salary contracts.
By trading for [Tobias] Harris, the Sixers acquired his Bird rights. That enables them to offer him a five-year, $188 million max contract.
Teams that don’t have his rights are only able to offer Harris a four-year, $141 million max contract in free agency. The Sixers will most likely have to offer the five-year maximum for him to stay.